Which is your favourite scene and how would you personally have reacted in a similar situation in To Sir, With Love?
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The field trip to the Victoria and Albert contains some episodes of interest to the reader as Pamela asserts herself on the bus after overhearing the women riders remark on the "shameless young girls." Trading places with another girl, Pamela speaks out, "He is our teacher. Do you mind?"
Well, there are plenty of favourite moments in this great book that every teacher should read. One of my favourites however comes in Chapter Twenty, which is when one of Braithwaite's students, Seales, tells the author that his mother has died. Moved, Braithwaite encourages the class to gather up a collection for some flowers for the family. However, when it comes to delivering them and also attending the funeral, he is shocked and dismayed that they do not want to be so publicly involved in the family because of the skin colour of Seales and his racial background. Feeling very angry, the author goes to the funeral by himself, but it stunned to see all of his class there. Note his reaction:
And then I stopped, feeling suddenly washed clean, whole and alive again. Tears were in my eyes, unashamedly, for there, standing in a close, separate group on the pavement outside Seales' door was my class, my children, all or nearly all of them, smart and self-conscious in their best clothes. Oh God, forgive me for the hateful thoughts, because I love them, these brutal, disarming bastards, I love them...
To be honest, the tears with which Braithwaite responded would probably have been my response as well. Such a sight which symbolises that Braithwaite's teaching had played a major role in overcoming the prejudices of his students clearly speaks volumes about the impact that the author has had on these children.
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